Web search leader Google Inc said on Thursday it is closing the gap with rival Baidu in China, after years of trying to increase market share in the world's second-largest Internet arena.

Google has gained more market share in China after it announced its partnership with Sina Corp, a major Chinese Internet portal. It has also recently formed another partnership with popular Web site Tianya.cn.

We are closing up the gap with them (Baidu), said Rebecca Kuei, Google's head of sales and business development for Taiwan and Hong Kong, declining to give specific figures.

Baidu led China's market in the second quarter with a 58.1 percent share, but rising only about 1 percentage point from the previous quarter's 57 percent, while Google gained a 22.8 percent market share, up around 4 percentage points from the previous quarter, according to Analysys International.

With over 162 million Web users, China is the world's largest Internet market, after the United States.

Google will continue to use similar business strategies throughout Asia to partner with major local internet firms to expand in the region, Kuei said, since many users in Asia still prefer to use local search engines.

In Taiwan, Google has partnerships with PC Home Online and Yam.com, while in South Korea it works closely with Daum Communications Corp.